The route: Province of Vicenza
Bassano del Grappa
During WWI, especially after the defeat of Caporetto, Bassano was directly involved in the conflict: more than 7.000 persons left the city, terrified by bombardments...read more...
Bassano del Grappa
During WWI, especially after the defeat of Caporetto, Bassano was directly involved in the conflict: more than 7.000 persons left the city, terrified by bombardments. Austro-Hungarian troops though, have never reached the city, stopping a few kilometers away.
The city remained safe thanks to success on Monte Grappa’s front, which killed about 22.000 soldiers. 50.000 were wounded, imprisoned or lost.
Inside Villa di Ca’Erizzo, along Brenta’s banks, is located the Great War Historic Museum. The magnificent edifice was built in the fifteenth century and in 1918 became the "Section One" for the American Red Cross ambulances.
The history of Bassano’s bridge, called Ponte Vecchio or Alpine’s bridge, begins long before the Great War. It was built in 1209 and swept away by floods in October 1567, it was rebuilt two years later and was designed by Andrea Palladio who wanted to use wood, so that its flexibility could resist to the raging of river Brenta. The structure, of great visual impact, lies on 4 wooden triangular shafts, aligned with the water flow, and is covered by a roof. During the First World War, the famous bridge was crossed by the Italian troops of General Luigi Cadorna to deal with the defense of the territories of Seven Towns’s plateau. It was on this bridge that an unknown soldier-poet, lived or imagined the love story told in the song "On Bassano’s Bridge", that became a symbol to alpines involved in the war.
After the first world war, in the cemeteries around the foothills of Monte Grappa, many soldiers had been provisionally buried and waited to be given a definitive and presentable accommodation. The cathedral, an imposing red brick, neo-Gothic building, dating back to the early '900, with a double bell tower and a pinnacles decorated façade, that dominates the Cadorna sqaure, was thus used as an ossuary. The inauguration took place on May 13,1934 in the presence of Crown Prince Umberto of Savoy. Inside are buried the remains of 5,405 soldiers, 236 of which decorated, that were taken by numerous cemeteries scattered on the Grappa’s slopes in the '30s. In the crypt there are other 1,136 niches including the sarcophagus of Umberto of Savoy-Aosta, who died of Spanish flu in October 1918 in Crespano, a village on the slopes of Monte Grappa.
Il Museo degli Alpini, poco distante dal Ponte Vecchio, non costituisce solo una raccolta di cimeli storici, ma offre uno scorcio sulla vita militare durante le guerre del '900. Conserva reperti della World War I, frutto di scavi sull'Altipiano di Asiago, e donazioni: reticolati, elmetti, bombe di aereo, schegge, baionette e cimeli che si riferiscono in particolar modo alla vita e alle gesta degli alpini durante la prima e la seconda guerra mondiale. Moltissime ed interessanti foto d'epoca, accanto a manoscritti, lettere e alcuni dei foglietti che D'Annunzio aveva gettato su Vienna in occasione di una famosa trasvolata.
The National Monument dedicated to the Boys of '99, opened in October 1974, was built on the initiative of an ex-combatants committee. The monument consists of a bronze statue, almost 4 meters high, depicting a geared infantryman with helmet, cape and rifle on his shoulder, that tends his left arm out to Mount Grappa.
The adverse conclusion of the Twelfth Battle on the Isonzo, that ended with the defeat of Caporetto and the withdrawal of our worn out and exhausted troops on the Piave...read more...
The adverse conclusion of the Twelfth Battle on the Isonzo, that ended with the defeat of Caporetto and the withdrawal of our worn out and exhausted troops on the Piave, brought the Monte Grappa in the forefront, on the barricade between the Brenta and the Piave.
In spite of the fatigue and the severe logistical conditions and tactics, our soldiers were able to build a new defensive barrier to permanently stop the enemy. The first battle took place between November and December 1917: the Austrians, after a massive and violent artillery preparation, attacked our forces using all means of destruction in their possession, from large caliber shells, to flamethrowers and poison gas. Despite the attacks ‘ferocity, the enemy was stopped and rejected on its previous position.
The Monumental area of Monte Grappa, on which the last bloody year of war was fought, includes: the Military Memorial, the "Vittorio Emanuele III tunnel" (which develops below the summit) and the "Milan Barracks".